Personal Narrative- Helping Others
Declining standards of living and continuing exportation of our jobs have resulted in rising stress levels for all Americans. This results in negative effects on our well being – mentally, physically and emotionally. Some people seek to reduce stress levels by using alcohol and drugs. Some overwork themselves, resulting in mental breakdowns. The pharmaceutical giants pocket billions of dollars a year from sales of tranquillisers, anti-depressants, barbiturates, amphetamines, and other psychoactive medications.
We know we must learn to control stress in safer, saner, and healthier ways. So we read about Yoga or Aromatherapy, or maybe Feng Shui. We think about doing stress-management courses. We try to get more exercise and fresh air. We check for preservatives and other additives in our foods, and stock up on multi-vitamins. All useful and worthwhile ideas.
But one stress-buster that we don’t hear much about is helping others. A loving or supportive act, unsolicited and unconditional, can brighten another’s life and return to us as contentment and a sense of well being. When we involve ourselves in helping someone else, we overcome the self-centred nature of our own anxieties.
Living in huge centres of population, as so many of us do, often means that we lack the interaction and co-operation with neighbours which would have been so much a part of my grandparents’ lives. It’s understandable, I suppose, that constantly feeling our space invaded, we go out of our way to preserve some sort of privacy -- and end up cutting ourselves off from people who live only yards away from us.
On the other hand, for those of us who have access to it, the Internet has brought a whole new meaning to the word 'community'. There’s a lot of rubbish on the net, we all know that. But there are also friendships to be made, helpful and useful groups to join, and very genuine causes to which we can give time and support. Now we can unite -- across borders, oceans, continents – and work together in ways that were not possible before.
How often do we hear about some injustice on the other side of the globe and think, “That’s awful. Something should be done about that.” And then we tell ourselves, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m just an ordinary Joe Soap. I don’t have any power over these things.”
But we do! The power is in...